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The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
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  05.9-9.9.05, No. 79  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese president arrives in Ottawa for state visit
2005-09-09 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in the Canadian capital of Ottawa Thursday for a state visit aimed at promoting the all-round partnership of cooperation between China and Canada. In a written statement delivered at the airport upon his arrival, the Chinese president said he is delighted to pay a state visit to the beautiful and richly-endowed country of Canada at the invitation of Governor General Clarkson. Hu said he is looking forward to having in-depth exchanges of views with the Canadian leaders on ways to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas, getting acquainted with friends from all walks of life in Canada, and jointly opening up a bright future for China-Canada ties. Friendly exchanges between the two peoples date back centuries, and since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1970, especially since the launching of the partnership of all-round cooperation, the two sides have strengthened political trust gradually and achieved gratifying results in their cooperation in the economy, trade, science, technology, culture, education and other areas, he said. "Deepening and enriching the China-Canada all-round partnership serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples and contributes to prosperity and development in the region and the world at large," said Hu. This is the first visit to Canada by a Chinese head of state in eight years. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said last month that the visit would "deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields and upgrade the all-round partnership of cooperation to a new level." China and Canada have seen rapid progress in the development of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations 35 years ago, especially after the all-round partnership of cooperation was formed in 1997. ()

Six-Party Talks set to resume next week
2005-09-09 China Daily
The Six-Party Talks aimed at ending the nuclear stand-off on the Korean Peninsula will resume on Tuesday in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry announced yesterday. The second phase of the fourth round of the talks will begin after consultations with related parties, ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. The parties are China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan. () Qin did not explain the reason for the two-week delay, but stressed that any decision could be made only after all related parties reached consensus. At the end of the first phase, the parties reached an understanding on the need to refrain from saying or doing anything obstructive to the resumption of the talks during the recess. However, Pyongyang claimed that Washington "insulted its dialogue partner" by holding a military exercise, known as "Ulji Focus Lens-05," with the ROK, and claimed it was targeted against the DPRK. The US also reportedly appointed "a presidential envoy for the human rights issue of North Korea." "We hope that all related parties can seize this opportunity in a spirit of mutual respect to find a solution through negotiation that takes into consideration the concerns and interests of all parties and is acceptable to all," Qin said. The second phase of the talks, like the first, will keep an open-ended timetable in the hope of striving for more progress. "The ending date of the talks will be decided by all concerned parties according to the results of their consultations," Qin said. "The process of denuclearization is difficult and complicated. We cannot expect to solve all the problems in just several rounds of talks, but we are not pessimistic." As long as the six parties can proceed from the principle of denuclearization and the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, show flexibility and take a pragmatic attitude in discussing related issues, progress can be achieved step by step, Qin said. ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon indicated on Wednesday that the second phase would see tough negotiations. He said Seoul would make its best efforts to produce an agreement in the talks but admitted difficulties in producing any quick breakthrough, as it would require all six parties to agree. The US side will be prepared to work to make progress in the coming discussions, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a daily briefing on Tuesday. Pyongyang and Washington, the main players in the talks, still differ on the scope of the nuclear disarmament. The US side insists that the DPRK should give up all nuclear programmes, including one for civilian purposes. The DPRK has vowed not to abandon its right to pursue peaceful nuclear activities to generate energy. In another development, the ROK wants the DPRK to be invited to future Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers' Meetings if there is substantial progress at the Six-Party Talks. Addressing finance ministers at the APEC forum yesterday, ROK Finance Minister Han Duck-soo said: "I suggest inviting non-members of the Asia-Pacific region to the APEC Finance Ministers' Meetings as special guests. "On condition that there is significant progress at the ongoing Six-Party Talks, I think we could consider North Korea (the DPRK) to be our first guest." Agencies contributed to the story.

Rumsfeld to make first China visit next month
2005-09-08 China Daily
By US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld will visit China next month, Admiral William J. Fallon, commander of US Pacific Command, said in Beijing yesterday. It would be Rumsfeld's first visit to China since assuming office in 2001, but the specific timing and schedule has not been decided yet, Fallon said. Fallon is visiting China for the first time since taking over as Pacific commander in February. He held talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing yesterday afternoon before heading to Shanghai and South China's Guangdong Province. Rumsfeld's visit is expected to add momentum to the increased diplomatic exchanges between China and the United States. President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart George W. Bush are scheduled to meet in New York next week during the United Nations 60th anniversary summit. Their meeting will cover a wide range of topics including the Six-Party Talks, trade, anti-terrorism efforts, energy, human rights and UN reform. The two heads of state agreed last Saturday during a phone conversation to postpone Hu's official visit to Washington because of Hurricane Katrina. According to Fallon, Bush will visit China following Rumsfeld's trip. Fallon hoped that not only the top leaders but also people at various levels could get to know each other well through increased exchanges. "It will be helpful in reducing the tension," he said. Asked if he views China as a threat, Fallon raised a half-empty glass and said that people have a tendency to always look at things one of two ways - it is either half-full or half-empty. "I choose to take the positive, optimistic view that we can make almost anything we want of relationships," he said.

Aid for Katrina victims on the way
2005-09-08 Xinhuanet
A China Southern cargo plane carrying the country's first batch of emergency supplies for US Hurricane Katrina victims left Beijing for Houston yesterday afternoon. The 100-ton shipment, worth 5 million yuan (US$617,283), included power generators, tents, bed sheets and clothing. The freight was wrapped in plastic sheeting, and marked with the words "China donation" and Chinese national flags. Sources at Beijing Customs said that the second batch of relief materials would be on its way in a few days. Wang Hanjiang, head of the Department for Foreign Aid under the Ministry of Commerce, said China would send more supplies to the US hurricane-hit regions "if needed." He said the move reflects Chinese people's sympathy and goodwill towards the American people. Visiting Commander of US Pacific Command Admiral William Fallon said yesterday in Beijing that he was very appreciative of the generosity of the Chinese Government and people. He said he was particularly touched by the assistance since China itself suffered substantial casualties and damages from Typhoon Talim only a few days ago. An announcement by the US State Department ranked China as one of the top donor countries in terms of the value of aid. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced earlier that the Chinese Government would provide US$5 million in aid to the US and consider sending rescue workers to help in medical treatment and epidemic prevention if needed. ()

China paper assails US response to Katrina
2005-09-09 China Daily
People's Daily, assailed the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina, saying Washington had been negligent and looters showed the dark side of American life. "In the face of the hurricane, Americans accepted the challenge but failed to beat it off," the newspaper said in an editorial on its English-language Web site this week. "This is really a shame on the United States," it said. "New Orleans has become Baghdad." The Chinese government has expressed its sympathy to Katrina's victims, sending the U.S. a $5 million donation plus tents, bedding and electricity generators. The editorial accused the U.S. government of cutting disaster relief funds, which it said slowed rescue efforts after the hurricane. "For the Bush administration, 'unexpected' perhaps can be a lame excuse, but it can never explain away the government negligence of duty," the editorial said. It also heaped scorn on looters and snipers who, it said, exposed "the fragility of American society."

Growing energy moves by China make U.S. angry
2005-09-07 China Daily
China will be increasingly in conflict with the United States if it continues to pursue good relations and energy deals with countries U.S. believes "problematic", a senior Bush administration official said Tuesday. However, Beijing says it has pursued an independent foreign policy, guided by the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty, mutual benefit, non-interference into each other's internal affairs and peaceful coexistence, which is earning it growing friends. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick told reporters in Washington that he was worried about China's increasing energy ventures in cooperation with countries such as Iran, Sudan and Venezuela, which Washington does not like. Zoellick said that it was unlikely that China could guarantee its energy security through contracts with countries which Washington considers troublesome "because you can't lock up energy resources" in a global marketplace, the Reuters quoted him as saying. Zoellick, in charge of a new U.S. strategic dialogue with Beijing, discussed key issues facing the two countries ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's attendance at the United Nations summit in New York next week. () Zoellick launched the strategic dialogue on a trip to Beijing in August amid rising U.S. concern over China's growing economic and military strength. He acknowledged "there are questions that are being asked not only in the U.S. but other parts of Asia and Europe about how China will use this growing power," according to the report filed by Reuters. ()

Sino-US military exchanges maintain momentum
2005-09-07 China Daily
Chinese and US senior military leaders vowed yesterday in Beijing to keep a good momentum in the bilateral inter-military relationship. Admiral William J. Fallon, commander of US Pacific Command, stressed during meetings with Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Liang Guanglie and Central Military Commission Vice-Chairman Guo Boxiong that the United States is willing to expand exchanges with the Chinese military in a number of areas. Liang said that Sino-US relations have maintained good momentum, and the two sides should deal with the relationship from a strategic and long-term viewpoint, expand consensus, reduce differences, and solve problems in order to push forward a healthy and stable bilateral relationship. Fallon said that on the Taiwan question there was no change on the US position that there is only one China in the world and the US advocates a peaceful resolution of this issue. Fallon's visit is regarded as a positive step following Liang's visit to Washington last October, in which US defence officials said that the two countries planned to increase military exchanges at all levels in 2005.

Blair: EU-China ties 'immensely important'
2005-09-06 China Daily
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that strong relations between the EU and China were "immensely important" as the two sides held an annual summit boosted by the settlement of a textiles row. AFP reported Blair was attending the one-day meeting as part of Britain's turn at the rotating presidency of the 25-nation European Union and said it was beneficial to both sides to help the relationship grow. "The strategic partnership between China and the European Union is of immense importance, not just in terms of trade and the economy, but also in terms of our cooperation in all the major political issues the world faces," he said in a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday. Blair's spokesman said that on top of the usual trade-focused agenda, global political and security issues had been added in the wake of the terrorist bombings in London which left 56 people dead in July. Human rights issues were also discussed. Despite disagreements on issues including Europe's embargo on arms sales to China and its refusal to grant Beijing market economy status, Hu agreed that building understanding was crucial. ()

China, Hungary pledge to further bilateral ties
2005-09-09 People's Daily
China and Hungary on Thursday pledged to boost political, economic and cultural cooperation to enhance bilateral ties. During an hour-long talk with Hungarian Prime Minister Gyurcsany Ferenc, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said he hopes the two countries will improve political exchanges to deepen their friendly cooperative partnership. He suggested the two countries implement the principles drawn down in the joint statement signed last year, maintaining high-level contacts and enhancing consultations on key international and regional issues. In the economic sector, he urged the two countries to deepen cooperation in trade and investment. He said China will take efforts to promote trade between the two countries and China welcomes and supports Hungarian companies to expand businesses in China. ()

Lifting arms embargo on long-term agenda
2005-09-07 China Daily
Europe's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said that Brussel's long-term arms embargo on China will remain in place, but in time would be lifted. AFP reported. "Both sides are looking for the right time -- this an agreement which is part of yesterday and not part of tomorrow," he said at press briefing in Shanghai after attending the EU-China summit in Beijing. "We want to resolve it. We think that it's part of history, but we have to find the manner and the moment when this can be done," Solana said, refusing to lay out any timetable. European leaders, in an initiative led by France and Germany, agreed last December to draft an accord on scrapping the embargo, but the move lost steam amid fierce opposition from the United States, AFP said. "This embargo is not a military decision, it's a political decision," Solana said, adding that this required the agreement of all 25 EU member states. He denied that China's anti-secession law had influenced the EU, although observers believe that the passage of the law sent the wrong message around the world by raising cross-strait tensions. "The EU does not make any decision according to the demands of others," Solana insisted when pushed on whether the US opposition had influenced the EU. "The embargo's removal would not impact the current trade of weapons at all," he added.

UN report calls for human development
2005-09-09 China Daily
China must take concrete measures to convert its economic miracles into sustained progress in human development, according to a UN report released yesterday. China's economic advance has outpaced social progress, though it has made rapid progress in offering basic education, medical and social security benefits for its 1.3 billion population, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in the 2005 Human Development Report. China is facing the challenge of ensuring that remarkable income growth is converted into sustained progress in non-income dimensions of human development, the UN organization said. China is world's fastest growing economy over the past two decades, with per capita incomes rising threefold. Since 1990, the country has climbed 20 places in the Human Development Index to rank 85. "On behalf of the UNDP, I congratulate the Chinese Government and people once again for this truly colossal achievement," said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, at yesterday's launching ceremony. The report recognized China's massive achievements in poverty relief in the past 30 years, saying that if it were not for China, the world would have regressed in poverty alleviation. ()

China mulls amending Criminal Procedure Law to qualify for UN human rights convention
2005-09-08 People's Daily
China is considering revising its Criminal Procedure Law to pave way for entering the United Nations civil and political rights convention, a gesture hailed by a law expert in Beijing on Wednesday as "one more step towards judicial justice." Long Zongzhi, a law professor with China's Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said that China has laid a basis for approving the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by putting the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Law high on its agenda. China signed two international conventions on human rights, or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in 1997 and 1998. The former was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, in 2001 after China entered the World Trade Organization. The latter, with a major part concerning criminal procedure law such as international standards on fair trial and review of death sentences, remains to be adopted by the Chinese legislature, as China's Criminal Procedure Law has certain articles not in line with the Covenant. "China's ratification of the two conventions would mean it further opens up economically and socially and respects basic law norms concerning human rights in the judicial field set up by the UN, and lists them as standards for domestic judicial practices," said Long. The proposal to amend China's Criminal Procedure Law was adopted by the NPC last year, which plans to initiate the revision process this year or next year. ()

 

Domestic Policy

Typhoon Talim kills 76 in Anhui
2005-09-08 Xinhuanet
The death toll inflicted by typhoon Talim rose to 76 in east China's Anhui province and relief supplies and fund totaling 110 million yuan (13.5 million US dollars) have been sent to the disaster-stricken region, said governor of the province Wang Jinshan on Thursday. Anhui was hit by extremely heavy rainstorms rarely seen in its history from Sept. 1 to 3 , the governor said at the province's flood control and relief televised conference on Thursday afternoon. Statistics showed that areas totaling 270,000 sq km in the province experienced rainfall exceeding 100 mm and some reservoir areas had rainfall of over 600 mm. The heavy rainstorms inflicted by the typhoon caused mud-rock flows and landslides on 3,000 sites in the province. And 61 reservoirs have reached alarming water level. The province is organizing all-out rescue work and large groups of relief supplies including tents, food, cotton quilts and medicines have been rushed to the disaster-hit regions. In addition, more than 150 medical teams have been sent to the disaster-stricken areas. The province is trying every means to help and resettle the victims.

Pits can be shut for 'hidden dangers'
2005-09-06 SCMP
Premier Wen Jiabao has signed a new State Council circular ordering the closure of coal mines that are found to have any of 15 identified "hidden dangers", Xinhua reported yesterday. The "hidden dangers" ranged from overproduction to poor ventilation. Use of outmoded production facilities and a lack of safety facilities could also allow authorities to shut mines. Xinhua said the decree also stated that county and town officials would face dismissal or demotion if illegal mines were found in areas under their jurisdiction. It took effect on Saturday.

Wu calls for more parliamentary exchanges
2005-09-08 China Daily
The rapid development of the Asia-Pacific region not only plays an important role in safeguarding regional peace and stability, but also enhances world stability and prosperity, Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo said here yesterday. "The Asia-Pacific region enjoys stability as a whole, and broad and multiple forms of regional co-operation have produced marked results," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, at a breakfast with parliament leaders from approximately a dozen Asia-Pacific countries. The speakers are here to attend the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments. The three-day event, which was due to start yesterday (Wednesday local time) afternoon, is being convened as a follow-up to the first gathering of presiding officers, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in August-September 2000, on the occasion of the United Nations Millennium Assembly. He urged member countries of the group to continuously raise the level of exchanges among their parliaments and make full use of the upcoming speakers' conference to strengthen co-ordination, broaden common ground and jointly work for the success of the gathering. ()

More courts formed to review death penalties
2005-09-08 SCMP
The Supreme People's Court has formed more criminal courts to cope with an increased caseload after it regains the final say over death penalty rulings, according to a leading academic. Chen Weidong, a Renmin University professor who is part of a panel of experts reviewing criminal prosecution law, told the state-controlled Guangzhou Daily that three courts had been set up to review death penalties handed down by lower-level bodies once the reform of death penalty rulings was completed. The paper also quoted a Supreme Court source as saying that Beijing had already deployed more than 300 judges from local courts to work in the top judicial body. Mr Chen did not reveal the details of the review, which was first announced during the National People's Congress meeting in March. The reform, which aims to improve scrutiny of death penalty decisions, could be implemented as soon as next year. But he suggested that authorities should make it compulsory for anyone who received the death penalty or a life sentence to appeal. All suspects should have the "right to silence", and the right to be "accompanied by a lawyer during police interrogation". ()

1,697 punished for bank crimes
2005-09-03 Xinhuanet
China's banking regulator said Saturday that 1,697 staffers with financial organizations were held for bank crimes in the first half of this year. Of them, 570 were high-profile staffers at banks, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CRBC) said in a statement. Pointing to this, it said that the move to crack down on illegal trades and operations at banks had achieved preliminary results. Liu Jinbao, former chief executive of the Hong Kong operation of Bank of China, China's second largest lender, was handed a suspended death sentence for embezzlement last month. Liu was found guilty of embezzling 14.3 million yuan (1.8 million US dollars), of which he personally pocketed 7.5 million yuan. He also received bribes amounting to 1.4 million yuan and was unable to account for 14.5 million yuan in personal assets. The CBRC said in July, the number of illegal cases at the country's Big Four state banks dropped from a month ago.

 

Economy

ADB: China economy to grow 9.2% this year
2005-09-09 China Daily
China's economy will grow 9.2 per cent this year, the Asian Development Bank predicted yesterday. It had earlier put the predicted growth rate at 8.5 per cent. The country's economy showed little signs of a slowdown in the first half, propelled by surging exports, strong investment and accelerating consumption, the bank's senior economist Zhuang Jian said. The growth will continue in the second half thanks to rising incomes and consumption, he said. However, the economy is expected to grow at less than 9 per cent next year, according to the bank's Asian Development Outlook 2005 Update. The consumer price index, the policy-makers' key inflation measurement, is expected to rise less than 3 per cent this year and next. However, Zhuang said the economy faces some problems, including constrained energy supplies, a weak banking system, and over-capacity of some industries. China has become the world's second largest oil consumer and one of the largest oil importers. The increased demand for oil is partly driven by the rising number of private cars, inefficient oil use, and price controls in the domestic oil market.

EC to release Chinese textiles on Sept. 14
2005-09-08 China Daily
The Chinese garments blocked at the European ports will be released on Sept. 14, the European Commission (EC) announced here on Thursday. The European Union (EU) executive body made the announcement by issuing an "important information for importers and traders". On Wednesday, the EU member states gave the green light to the EU-China deal on unblocking the textiles, the EC is now busy finalizing a regulation based on the deal. "It is expected that it (regulation) will be adopted very early in the week of Sept. 12, published in all the 20 official languages the next day, and enter into force the following day," said the EC. From that time on, the EU member states will start to issue import licenses and the blocked merchandise may be released into free circulation. According to the EC, however, the stockpiles of blocked Chinese garments hit 87 million pieces at the time when Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson signed the unblocking deal on Sept. 5 in Beijing. The EC also said the deadline for applying for license to unblock the goods is Sept. 20. "The deadline for importers to request the issue of import licenses for goods shipped from China before July 20 has been extended till Sept. 20," it said.

Putin: Oil pipeline will serve China first
2005-09-09 People's Daily
Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that his nation's trans-Siberian oil pipeline's first exports will be to China, instead of Japan, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In a meeting with Western analysts and journalists at the Kremlin late on Monday, Putin said shipments initially would go to China's oil centre in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, according to the US newspaper, citing participants of the meeting. "The Daqing pipeline will be built first," Putin reportedly told the group. "But we will also build to Nakhodka." The Russian Government refused to comment on the report. According to the newspaper, construction of the pipeline is to begin late this year, with the first stage capable of carrying 30 million metric tons of crude oil annually from the Siberian city of Taishet to Skovorodino near the Chinese border. From there, the pipeline is expected to take two-thirds of the oil south to Daqing, while the remaining 10 million metric tons would be shipped by rail to a new port to be built on the Pacific coast near Nakhodka. The project is expected to be completed around 2008. Putin also pledged to expand the line's capacity to 50 million metric tons a year, or roughly 1.2 million barrels per day, and to extend the line all the way to the Pacific coast at some time in the future, the Journal report said. Putin reiterated Russia's plan to expand its oil production amid worries about global petroleum supplies.

Airbus, banking deals cement China-EU ties
2005-09-07 China Daily
Premier Wen Jiabao and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after three hours of wide-ranging discussion, yesterday oversaw the signing of a series of trade contracts including airline and banking deals. The British leader initially met Wen on Monday at the annual EU-China summit, as Britain currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency. Blair was present yesterday on the Sino-British leg of the trip. "I think it is fair to call our meetings in-depth, practical, frank and productive," Wen said. "I do believe that this is a very important visit, so that we can discuss our relations and major international and regional issues of common concern." Blair praised the approach China had taken during the two days, which included a settlement of a Sino-EU trade row that had left 80 million Chinese-made garments piled up in European ports. "The length of our meetings both yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday) gave us an opportunity to discuss issues in depth, but it has really been the frankness and openness of our discussions that have been most appreciated," Blair said. He said the chance to exchange views had made him "very content indeed." Trade and investment took up most of their time, but they also touched on other subjects such as human rights, China's market economy status, Taiwan and Hong Kong. ()

ABB to boost activities in China
2005-09-07 People's Daily
Chief executive Fred Kindle of the Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB said on Tuesday his company will relocate its robotics division from the United States to China, and boosting its activities in China is part of ABB's five- year strategy. "China rightfully has a very strong position because it is a huge market with a lot of opportunities. Therefore, it is attracting a lot of our attention," Kindle said in an interview with the official website swissinfo. As to ABB's decision to relocate its robotics division and its workforce to China, Kindle said: "We must stay at the cutting edge where we are not facing cost competition that forces us to relocate more of our workforce." "Our success in emerging countries may lead to a build-up of jobs in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in the future," he added. In October 2004, the Zurich-based engineering group unveiled major expansion plans in China, which it said should become its largest market within five years. Besides China, Kindle said ABB has also seen a stellar performance in its development in India and there is very dynamic development in the Middle East.

 

North Korea

Banks deny N Korea nuclear links
2005-09-09 SCMP
Bank of China and two Macau-based banks yesterday denied ties to an illicit funding network for North Korea's nuclear programme. The denial came after a Wall Street Journal report claimed the banks were being investigated in the United States for possible links to such a network. Casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun, who controls Seng Heng Bank, one of the banks named in the report, said his businesses had no connections with Pyongyang. "Macau has no relations with North Korea. The only trace [of any connection] is that many years ago the North Korean government asked me to build a casino in its capital," he said last night. Robert McBain, general manager of Seng Heng Bank, said the bank was unaware of any investigation. "We have regular compliance reviews from the Macau Monetary Authority. We have no North Korean accounts. We have no business with any North Korean company. We have no knowledge of any investigation or that we are under any scrutiny." Banco Delta Asia, however, admitted that it has maintained a commercial banking relationship with the North Korean banks and trading companies since the 1970s. "Banco Delta Asia is surprised by the allegation that it is the subject of a possible US Treasury Department probe. Delta Asia complies strictly with anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorism rules and regulations," the bank said. Bank of China spokesman Wang Zhaowen said the bank had "no knowledge of any investigation". In Beijing, A Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on whether the mainland funded North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

 

Julie Kong
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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